USS John S McCain collision: What we know so far

USS John S McCain collision: What we know so far

SINGAPORE: Five US Navy sailors are injured and another 10 missing after guided-missile destroyer USS John S McCain collided with an oil tanker early on Monday morning (Aug 21) off the coast of Singapore.

Search and rescue operations are currently underway for the missing sailors.

Here's what we know so far about the incident:


The USS John S McCain collided with the merchant vessel Alnic MC at around 5.30am while the warship was heading to Singapore for a routine port call, the US Navy said.

Five sailors were injured, and four of them were taken to the Singapore General Hospital by helicopter with non-life threatening injuries. The fifth sailor did not need further medical attention, the US Navy said.

A further 10 US sailors were reported missing after the collision.


Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said in separate Facebook posts that the collision took place in Singapore's territorial waters.

After the collision, the US warship made its way to Changi Naval Base. In an update posted at around 4pm, the US Navy confirmed that the ship had arrived at the base.

The Alnic was proceeding to Raffles Reserved Anchorage, "where the owners will investigate the matter", an unnamed crew member told Reuters.

The Liberian-flagged, 183-metre-long tanker was carrying nearly 12,000 tonnes of fuel oil from Taiwan to discharge in Singapore, according to the crew member.

US Navy ship John McCain collision
The guided-missile destroyer USS John S McCain is guided by a tugboat (L) after a collision with an oil tanker, outside Changi naval base in Singapore on August 21, 2017. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)


The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) is leading search and rescue operations following the incident, Dr Ng said in his Facebook post.

Operations will continue through the night, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore said, adding that Singapore will spare no effort in trying to find the missing sailors.

The amphibious assault ship USS America also arrived at Singapore's Changi Naval Base to support the search for the missing crew members. 


The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), which is leading the search and rescue operation, said traffic in the Singapore Strait was unaffected and that there were no reports of oil pollution.

However the collision caused damage to both the USS John S McCain and the Alnic.

In a statement, the US Navy said that the warship had sustained "significant damage to the hull", resulting in flooding to nearby compartments including crew berthing, machinery and communications rooms.

According to MPA, the Alnic sustained damage to its forepeak tank 7m above the waterline.


This is the second time in the past two months where a US guided-missile destroyer has been involved in a collision in the region.

In June, the USS Fitzgerald collided with a Philippine container ship off the coast of Japan. Seven navy sailors were killed, and two senior officers and the senior enlisted sailor on the Fitzgerald were removed after the incident.

The latest accident has raised questions about the US Pacific fleet and whether it is taking on too much as it tackles multiple challenges.

Source: CNA/nc